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The First Org Chart

Real leaders know how to draw an org. chart.  When did the leaders ego grow so big as to invert the  diagrams purpose and meaning?

The first organizational chart (How information design solved a big problem for the Erie Railroad in the telegraph age) was a tree form describing the people and roles of the Erie Railroad with the executives at the bottom.

Erie Railroad Org Chart

By 1917 the org chart had mutated to the now traditional pyramid shape.  See Wikipedia article.

A better alternative to the org chart is the Organigraph.  "The organigraph shows how companies really work. It uses symbols like stars, funnels, tubes, links and chains—in all, there are six speciļ¬c symbols that represent how a company actually works." -- Building Business Value Blog  Here's an example:

The secret to Walt Disney's strategy Organigraph.

So do you see how the first Org Chart was both an organizational chart and an organigraph?  And why it may have provided great informational value.  Here's Enron's organigraph - it reminds me of an attack cell.
Enron's Organigraph

Today’s most disruptive organizations are beginning to organize around a new pattern: the ability to evolve in real time.  Holacracy -- Agile Squads -- Self Organizing framework.

"Once upon a time, there were no line graphs or bar charts. Then, in 1786, the Scottish engineer and economist William Playfair published 44 of them. The Commercial and Political Atlas, a sprawling examination of British trade and debt from 1700 to 1782, utilized charts to explain business over time—a dramatic departure from the tables then commonly used to display data."

A 19th-Century Cartographer Crammed All of Human History into this Map

It presents important events from the beginning of time as rivers flowing into and out of each other.
By David Doochin June 06, 2016 via Atlas Obscura

Data viz isn’t just a modern-day craze. Designer Manuel Lima, author of The Book of Trees, discusses the origins of the tree diagram.

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David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.


Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board

What are the individual elements that make a Scrum task board effective for the team and the leadership of the team?  There are a few basic elements that are quite obvious when you have seen a few good Scrum boards... but there are some other elements that appear to elude even the most servant of leaders of Scrum teams.

In general I'm referring to a physical Scrum board.  Although software applications will replicated may of the elements of a good Scrum board there will be affordances that are not easily replicated.  And software applications offer features not easily implemented in the physical domain also.

Scrum Info Radiator Checklist (PDF) Basic Elements
Board Framework - columns and rows laid out in bold colors (blue tape works well)
Attributes:  space for the total number of stickies that will need to belong in each cell of the matrix;  lines that are not easy eroded, but are also easy to replace;  see Orientation.

Columns (or Rows) - labeled
    To Do
    Work In P…

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?

Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

What belongs on the Task Board?

I wonder about these questions a lot - what types of task belong on the task board?  Does every task have to belong to a Story?  Are some tasks just too small?  Are some tasks too obvious?  Obviously some task are too larger, but when should it be decomposed?  How will we know a task is too large?

I answer these questions with a question.  What about a task board motivates us to get work done?  The answer is: T.A.S.K.S. to DONE!

Inherent in the acronym TASKS is the point of all tasks, to get to done.  That is the measure of if the task is the right size.  Does it motivate us to get the work done?  (see notes on Dan Pink's book: Drive - The surprising Truth about what motivates us) If we are forgetting to do some class of task then putting it on the board will help us remember.  If we think some small task is being done by someone else, then putting it on the board will validate that someone else is actually doing it.  If a task is obvious, then putting it on the board will take vi…

Refactoring - examples from the book

Martin Fowler's book Refactoring:  Improving the Design of Existing Code has a simple example of a movie rental domain model, which he refactors from a less than ideal object-oriented design to a more robust OO design. Included in this Zip file are the Java source code files of the Movie, Rental, and Customer classes. Along with a JUnit CustomerTest class. Using these example source files you too can follow along with the refactoring that Fowler presents in the first few chapters of his book.